"With $10m I would invest in advancing education using technology" - Noonies Nominee by@tanakamutakwa

"With $10m I would invest in advancing education using technology" - Noonies Nominee

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Hey Hackers! I’m Tanaka Mutakwa and I’m the VP of Engineering at Names & Faces.

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Tanaka Mutakwa

I'm a technology leader who is driven to help software...

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Hey Hackers! I’m Tanaka Mutakwa and I’m the VP of Engineering at Names & Faces.

First of all, a huge thank you to the HackerNoon community and staff for nominating me for a 2021 Noonies award! I’ve been nominated in the following categories please do check out these award pages and vote:

  1. HackerNoon Contributor of the Year - engineering

    : https://noonies.tech/award/2021-hackernoon-contributor-of-the-year-engineering

As someone in the software engineering industry, I believe that the most exciting technology of the present is Javascript because it can be used for multiple platforms (Web, Mobile, Backend). Learn more about my thoughts and opinions on software engineering and my journey in the tech industry via the interview below.

1. What do you do and why do you do it? (tell us your story)

I'm a technology leader who is driven to help software engineers have fulfilling careers. I have a passion for technology, leadership, and building high-performing teams. I currently work as the VP of Engineering at Names & Faces. My role is to make everyone in the engineering organization successful by influencing architectural decisions, establishing best practices, setting work cadences and cultural norms, and overcoming the issues that get in the way of the team’s success.

2. Tell us more about the things you create / write / manage / build!

I'm currently writing The New Developer (https://thenewdeveloper.substack.com/), a newsletter on Substack. The New Developer is a guide for new and aspiring software developers. The goal is to help software developers prepare themselves for the real world - working in a real team at a real company.

3. How did you end up in your current career path? Do you like it?

I started using computers in primary school - https://mutakwa.com/how-i-got-started-in-computers-programming/. However, I only started computer programming towards the end of high school. I then studied Computer Science at the University of Cape Town and this is where I built solid computer science fundamentals. After graduating from the University of Cape Town I’ve had the opportunity to work in technology teams at various companies.

4. What tech are you most excited or passionate about right now and why?

I’m most excited about Javascript at the moment. The language has matured and can be used on multiple platforms (Web, Mobile, Backend). Frameworks such as React and Vue make the experience of creating frontends much better. If someone was starting out their software engineering career now I would encourage them to learn Javascript.

5. What tech are you most worried about right now and why?

Any legacy technologies that have struggled to keep up with the fast-paced technological advances. Being stuck in legacy technologies can make your skills irrelevant in a few years.

6. If we gave you 10 million dollars to invest in something today, what would you invest in and why?

I believe technology still has a big role to play in improving education. Making education more accessible and cheaper for the whole world. If I was given 10 million dollars to invest in something today I would invest it in advancing education using technology.

7. What are you currently learning?

I’m currently focused on growing the following skills:

  1. Growing my technical writing skills.

  2. Growing my technology leadership skills.

  3. Growing my product/business understanding. The goal is to have a good understanding of how to launch technology products to the world and build valuable technology companies.

8. What’s the best advice you’ve ever given someone?

“Even if you fail at your ambitious thing, it’s very hard to fail completely. That’s the thing that people don’t get.”

9. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

“Life learning from Computer Science: you can scale almost everything much more than you'd think, and the things that break are hard to predict.”

10. Please give us the links to all your relevant social media profiles so we can use them to promote this interview! (Twitter and LinkedIn would be a huge plus)

Substack Newsletter - https://thenewdeveloper.substack.com/

Twitter - https://twitter.com/GeneralMutakwa

LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/trmutakwa/

11. Would you also be interested in joining us on the HackerNoon podcast? If so, what would you like to chat about?

Yes, I would love to join the HackerNoon podcasts. I can chat about the following topics:

  1. How to find a mentor
  2. Pair Programming with more experienced software engineers
  3. Growing your software development skills outside of work

About HackerNoon’s 2021 Noonie Awards

The annual Noonie Awards celebrate the best and brightest of the tech industry, bringing together all who are making the Internet and the world of tech what it is today. Please be sure to check out our award categories, nominate, and vote for the people and companies who you think are making the biggest impact on the tech industry today.

The 2021 Noonies are sponsored by: by bit, Dottech Domains, and Avast. Thank you so much to these sponsors who are helping us celebrate the accomplishments of all our nominees.


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